Ready meals: is fast food impacting your skin?

Ready meals: is fast food impacting your skin?
Ready meals: is fast food impacting your skin?

A study published by the International Journal of Dermatology (2009) found that there are far fewer reports of acne in rural societies which do not have a western diet. This got us thinking: is there a relationship between a western diet and an increase in acne?

Convenience foods are a store cupboard staple for some of us. Many of us eat ready-meals daily because they fit in with our busy lifestyles. However, these pre-prepared meals are often high-glycemic Index foods, which are linked to acne.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how foods containing carbohydrates raise blood glucose. The scale goes from 0 to 100, with 55 and below representing low GI foods. These foods include things like fruit, vegetables and wholegrain bread and cereal.

What’s wrong with high GI foods?

Regularly eating high-GI foods increases the production of the body’s insulin hormones, which in turn stimulate sebum production and androgen levels. Both high levels of sebum and androgens are widely believed to cause and worsen blemishes. That is why keeping our blood sugar levels steady is key for healthy skin because when we eat foods that make our blood sugar levels soar, excess insulin has to be produced to absorb the sugar. It’s important to remember that insulin promotes inflammation and therefore also plays a role in the rise of acne. 

Which foods are high on the GI?

Processed foods and convenience foods have a high GI. White bread, instant cereals, white pasta and rice, as well as some frozen and pre-packaged foods all have a high GI too. A basic rule of thumb is the more processed the food, the more you should avoid it.